Is the Buddha story a hoax?

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The Buddha once said we shouldn’t blindly accept any of his teachings, simply because he was the one to give them, but rather we should question everything, and discover the truth for ourselves. Socrates told us a similar thing, and I always try to incorporate this sense of doubt into my Buddhist training. Because of this, I have been led to some disturbing places, particularly those surrounding the story of the Buddha, and his path to enlightenment.

Most of us are familiar with the story of the Buddha, because we’ve been forced fed it at some part of our training. The story has never sat well with me, probably because it feels like a story, and frankly, not a very good one.

While Siddhartha was growing up, supposedly he was completely sheltered by his father from the concepts of sickness, aging, and death. It’s hard to imaging even under the most perfect of circumstances how this was possible. Let’s say for the sake of argument, his father pulled off hiding death from his son, but what about sickness and aging?

Here is this man who supposedly figured out how the mind works well enough to liberate himself from its various traps, and wise enough to train others to do the same thing, yet we’re supposed to believe Siddhartha didn’t have the self-awareness to know his body was aging? That he was growing from a child into a man? What about puberty? Are you telling me he never had a cold, a fever, or even just a blah day? He never cut or scratched himself?

None of this makes sense to me.

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the Buddha’s teachings because I do, and have devoted my life to them. But the ‘origin story’, to use a comic book term, sounds silly to me. I wonder if any Christians feel the same was about the miracles Jesus was said to have performed.

I think this is because our human nature tries to make our religious icons into more than just ordinary men or women so we will have a greater reason to believe in them. For example: If I were to walk around telling people they should be nice to each other, not to rape or kill, and to try to make the world a better place, most people would ask who the hell am I, and why should they listen to me?

But if I could fly, time travel, come back from the dead, or if I was from another planet…then people would probably listen to me.

Sadly it also seems to be a part of our human nature to get caught up in these stories. We argue with one another over which deity has the coolest powers like we argue about who would win in a fight between Superman and Spiderman. We fight wars over these stories, while the true message of the teachings slip through the cracks or are ignored altogether.

If you encounter something that resonates inside you, that makes you happy, and encourages you to try to become a better person, does it really matter where that thing comes from? Isn’t the point of religion to learn to see it in everything?

Just because I don’t believe that immediately after the Buddha was born, he took eight steps and lotus blossoms appeared in each of his footsteps, symbolizing the future eight-fold-path, doesn’t mean I can’t believe in the eight-fold-path itself.

Every religion when all the stories are shaved away, teach the exact same lesson, and you don’t even need me to tell it here because you already know what it is. Don’t get bogged down in the made up parts. Or as Bruce Lee said: “It is like a finger pointing to the moon, don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

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